Saturday, April 18, 2015

April 18th, 1915

- After the loss of Hill 60 yesterday evening, the Germans have moved up 19th Saxon Regiment, and at 630 launch a desperate counterattack.  Under heavy fire, and despite taking heavy casualties, the Germans are able to reach the British line, and hand-to-hand fighting ensued.  By nightfall, however, a British bayonet charge has cleared their trenches of Germans, and, however narrowly, they remain in command of the hill.

- Over the Western Front, French pilot Roland Garros, in his specially-modified Morane-Saulnier aircraft, shoots down his third German aircraft this month, demonstrating the effectiveness of being able to fire forward through the propeller.  Shortly afterwards, however, Garros' aircraft is damaged by German anti-aircraft fire, and he is forced to crash-land behind German lines.  Garros is made prisoner, and of greater importance his Morane-Saulnier aircraft is captured by the Germans.  It will quickly be sent back to Berlin for study, and in particular will draw the attention of aircraft designer Anthony Fokker.

- For several months the leadership of the Italian navy has been developing plans in the event of war breaking out with Austria-Hungary, and today they are officially approved by the Italian government and transmitted to Duke Abruzzi, commander-in-chief of the Italian Navy.  At the outbreak of hostilities, the Italian navy is to be based in the southern or central Adriatic, most likely at Taranto where they can be most easily reinforced by the British and French navies.  If the Austro-Hungarian fleet comes south from its main naval base at Pola, the Italians will give battle.  If the enemy remains at Pola, the Italian navy would remain in the south until called north to support the advance of the Italian army towards Trieste.  It was at this point that the Italians most expected a major naval battle to occur, and the plan emphasizes the importance of maintaining the strength of the Italian navy until this point.  This means that major warships of the Italian navy are not to be risked in minor operations; plans, for example, to seize islands on the Dalmatian coast have been abandoned.  While sensible, the plan assumes that at some point, the main battle fleet of the Austro-Hungarian navy will put to sea and seek battle.  The question, of course, is what if they do not?

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